Mets continue to mine the scrap heap, sign Ervin Santana and Matt Kemp to minor league contracts

Thanks to injuries and a general lack of organizational depth, the New York Mets have had to hit the scrap heap hard this month. On Friday, they did it again. Twice. The Mets have signed veteran right-hander Ervin Santana and veteran outfielder Matt Kemp to minor league contracts. The team has announced both signings.

The Reds released the 34-year-old Kemp earlier this month. He was a poor fit on their corner outfield heavy roster and managed only a .200/.210/.283 batting line in 62 plate appearances before being cut loose. Cincinnati decided they could use the roster spot in a better way despite owing Kemp $15.75 million this year.

Because he's a released player, the Mets will only owe Kemp the pro-rated portion of the league minimum should they had him to their MLB roster at some point. Until then, the minor league contract is zero risk. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reports the Mets will send Kemp to Triple-A affiliate for the time being and evaluate him there.

As for Santana, the 36-year-old was released last month after allowing 14 runs in 13 1/3 innings with the White Sox. Chicago owes Santana the remainder of his $4.3 million salary, so, like Kemp, the Mets are only responsible for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum should they add him to the roster. He's expected to report to Triple-A with Kemp.

The Mets have lost Luis Avilan (elbow), Robinson Cano (quad), Michael Conforto (concussion), Seth Lugo (shoulder), Jeff McNeil (quad), Brandon Nimmo (neck), Jason Vargas (hamstring), and Justin Wilson (elbow) to the injured list this month alone. Also, Jed Lowrie (knee) and Yoenis Cespedes (ankle), who have been on the injured list all year, suffered setbacks.   

As a result, the Mets have had to look for castoffs to fill out their roster in recent weeks. Check out some of the team's recent transactions:

  • May 6: Acquired Wilmer Font from the Rays for cash or a player to be named later.
  • May 17: Called Carlos Gomez up from Triple-A and added him to the active roster.
  • May 20: Called Hector Santiago up from Triple-A and added him to the active roster. 
  • May 22: Called Rajai Davis up from Triple-A and added him to the active roster. 
  • May 23: Claimed Aaron Altherr off waivers from Giants.
  • May 24: Signed Santana and Kemp to minor league contracts.

A minor trade for a player who had been designated for assignment (Font), a couple journeymen on minor league deals summoned from Triple-A (Gomez, Santiago, Davis), a waiver claim (Altherr), and some scrap heap signings (Santana, Kemp). There's a little of everything there.

The Mets have been hammered by injuries in recent weeks and, like their crosstown rivals in the Bronx, they've had to plug roster holes through any means necessary. On Friday, it led them to Santana and Kemp, two players who were cut loose by other teams earlier this season.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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